be done voluntarily if it’s to be successful.
1. Decide who should take over the business. Will it be a family member or an outsider? Target individuals with the technical, leadership and administrative skills required for the job. Don’t automatically look toward family members or those you like or know well if they aren’t qualified.
2. Talk to your potential successo
r to determine their interest in the company and the direction in which they would like to take it.
3. Gradually give you chosen successor increased responsibility to gauge whether they are up to the task of running the operation on their own.
4. Set up a career development plan. Send your successor to executive education or management training classes. In a vast majority of cases, significant outside work experience is a vital prerequisite to a healthy career in a family business.
5. The job of a potential successor should be clearly structured with specific accountability. As soon as possible, this job should have clear cost or profit responsibility.
6. Eventually the parent will usually serve as “chairman” with authority only over a very particular policy variable. At this stage, if authority is ambiguous, it should rest with the successor.
7. The best final role for the business-builder is as consultant to the successor-only when asked-and as cultural ombudsman as defined by the board of directors.